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So I am somewhat familiar with the 17th century "agrarian communist" (according to Wikipedia, although I suspect they're closer to anarchists) movement in England known as the Diggers. I learned of them from the song "The World Turned Upside Down". I also know that there was a San Fransisco hippie community that appropriated the name.

However, I haven't heard much else about them. I'm particularly interested in hearing how the diggers influenced English politics both in terms of agrarian and urban settings. I'd also like to know if the Diggers had any impact outside of the occasional song or name appropriation.

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I highly suspect the politically argumentative mud pesants from Monty Python and the Holy Grail were inspired by the Diggers. – T.E.D. Aug 16 '12 at 15:38
eg: "True power comes from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic cerimony.." – T.E.D. Aug 16 '12 at 15:41

My memory may fail me, as this isn't a period I have studied in detail; however I believe that as stability returned after the chaos of the Civil War, the Diggers (like the Levellers and the Fifth Monarchy men, and other more out-there groups [look up Thereau John* if you want to see the more lunatic fringe!]) were suppressed. Their main impact on later times seems to be as an inspiration (/cautionary tale).

*aka Thomas Totney, as apparently Thereau John doesn't show up any good results.

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Where can one look up Thereau John? Google apparently has nothing. – Nate Eldredge Aug 17 '12 at 1:35
Hi, sorry, had to spend a little while tracking it down - his original name was Thomas Totney, and it is under this name that he is listed in e.g. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography and Wiki. – Guy F-W Aug 17 '12 at 8:07
I have also got some sources courtesy of the guy who told me about ThereauJohn in the first place: thewildbeast.co.uk/wordpress/2006/07/29/… and there is by all accounts a lot on JSTOR if you have access to that (I don't). The rest is books which I can pass on if you like, message me! – Guy F-W Aug 17 '12 at 11:39

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